Looking to connect to a Windows based media server, which apps work?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by linkandzelda, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. linkandzelda macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    #1
    Hello,
    I'm trying to turn an old Windows machine into a media server and file server, but not sure which Windows apps are Mac compatible. This is sort of hit and miss to post here, as it mainly involves looking for Windows applications, but the mac would be using them so it's sort of suitable. If not then please move/delete it.

    I have setup a DLNA server for PS3 already which is working correctly. I've setup a UPNP server called Air Video for use with media for the iPhone and iPad.

    I tried to setup an FTP server for use with files from both machines but the mac would not connect to it. It kept saying the login was wrong but it was right. I also setup a VNC server which the iphone using iTeleport could connect to but the Mac just would not connect...

    So the main question is: Is there a FTP and VNC server for Windows which works 100% with a Mac as the client? After these two are working the server is completed.

    Thanks in advance, and hope this is the correct place.
    Link
     
  2. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #2
    What clients are you using on the Mac to connect to the FTP/VNC? It's most likely incompatible authentication issues that could just as well be fixed by changing apps on the Mac if the servers work otherwise for your other devices.

    Any reason you're not just using RDP and RDC/CoRD for remote access?

    B
     
  3. Middling macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    #3
    I've used TightVNC as a server on Windows machines. Works fine with Apple Remote Desktop and other VNC clients.

    The built-in FTP support on Mac OS X isn't very good (IIRC it's read-only too). I use Cyberduck.

    I'm not sure what FTP server would be good for Windows as i'd never use Windows as a server OS (even in the home). Perhaps FileZilla?

    To watch multimedia from your DLNA server on your Mac you could try XBMC. I've just been experimenting with this in the last couple of days as my new router supports the TomatoUSB firmware which has a built-in DLNA server. Seems to work extremely well.
     
  4. linkandzelda thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    #4
    I was using only the Finder to access vnc://ipaddress and ftp://ipaddress. I wanted to use Remote Desktop but I was under the impression that VNC was more widely used/compatible? I wasn't sure if iTeleport supported it either. Also I never setup a RDP server before. Is it better than VNC then?

    I tried out TightVNC server and it works, I can connect but its very very very slow when using it on the Mac. The iPhone displays it fine. I wonder why the Mac doesn't like it, using the built in VNC viewer.

    The FTP server was so i can access stuff while im away from home, but not sure whether to have that, and to just have a local server. I remember setting up file sharing between 2 Macs and that each server appeared on the desktop, and also in the Finder sidebar. From there i could browse the disk just like it was a local drive. Any way i can have similar behavior from a Windows file server other than FTP? With both read and write support?

    The reason for that is I like to browse the files as a drive, but also I like to do that for my media too. i did try XBMC and its cool though.
     
  5. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #5
    Remote Desktop Protocol is actually far more prevalent since it is native to Windows and Windows is dominant. It is also a lot more efficient that VNC (vector based instead of bitmap), so if your goal is to access Windows remotely always try RDP first. Of course this means the box you are accessing has to use Windows Business/Pro or Ultimate.

    VNC is "interesting" it has many variants, and different compression standards that may or not be implemented in various combinations of server and client. Also, since it is bitmap based you may get a benefit from the low resolution of the iPhone screen.

    Sure, macs can access Windows shares just fine. smb://server/share.

    B
     
  6. Middling macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    #6
    RDP is the remote desktop protocol that Windows uses and is built-into Windows. It has been crippled in the low-end versions of Vista and 7 but if you're running XP or one of the higher-end versions of Vista/7 you might be able to use that instead of VNC. I've never used RDP myself so have no idea how to set it up but, as balamw said, use CoRD to connect to it once setup.

    Unfortunately VNC is a pretty slow protocol at the best of times. I suspect the iPhone is only as fast as it is because it's connecting at a low quality.

    If your router supports it you could set up a VPN server on it and access local machines without exposing them to the 'net. That's probably the way i'm going to do it.

    Just set up Windows file sharing on the folders containing your files and they should pop up in Finder's sidebar. Your Macs were probably using the Windows file sharing protocols between themselves too since it's become pretty much the standard nowadays.
     
  7. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    #7
  8. Middling macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    #8
  9. linkandzelda thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    #9
    Thanks guys i've setup a Remote Desktop now (lucky I was running ultimate 7) and can connect to it using CoRD at a reasonably fast rate. Now That's sorted, no longer need an external monitor! Might try to setup a VPN after everything else is working.

    But the problem now is with File Sharing. I have all my media on an external 500GB drive formatted to HFS+ for Mac, so that If i don't use the server i can just plug it in to another machine. Now I tried sharing the drive but I get a message "your folder cannot be shared". I think this is because I'm running a "3rd party copy of Windows" if you know what I mean which has some features "missing", such as the File and Printer sharing service... So to save me from reinstalling everything with real Windows 7, is there another file sharing app for Windows which uses the same protocol?
     
  10. Middling macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    #10
    I believe Samba has been made to work on Windows but you'd probably have to compile it yourself and it seems a whole lot of hassle to go through.

    If you're going to use the Windows machine strictly for file serving then you'd probably be better off just ditching Windows altogether and going with something like FreeNAS (there's a live-cd version for testing without disrupting your current Windows install), which will do everything you've asked for in this thread (apart from remote desktop since it uses a web-based interface).

    If you've a router that can handle the TomatoUSB firmware then you could do away with the computer altogether since it supports FTP, Samba file sharing and DLNA/UPnP AV. I recommend the ASUS RT-N16.

    If you're dead-set on having a Windows machine do it then you'll need a version with file serving included and perhaps Windows Home Server will be a better fit (i've never used it).
     
  11. linkandzelda thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    #11
    Well i was thinking of using Ubuntu Linux as the server but I used Windows 7 as it was already there and installed. As long as it works I'm not too bothered which OS it is. I guess i'll reinstall with the File and Printer sharing enabled then everything is finished. If it gives me problems then i'll try a different OS probably.

    I wouldn't use the hacked router as I'm on the move to different locations which I have configured each router for this computer to act as a server. In short I don't own the routers but have access to the settings. So i'm limited to have it done by a computer.
     
  12. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    Location:
    New England
    #12
    I looked for this and couldn't find it. All I found was articles on issues connecting from W7 to Samba. Agree with the hassle.

    B
     

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